Christian Hoffstadt/Stefan Höltgen (eds.):
KOMIK UND GEWALT / COMIC AND VIOLENCE / COMIQUE ET VIOLENCE, Vol. 1
edited by Ch. Hoffstadt | A. Böhn | A. Peiter | S. Müller
2011; 98 pp; (Language: GER / ENG)
Sick humor transgresses the borders of taboo and thereby differs from other forms of comedy like sarcasm or black humor. In his ground breaking essay Cracking Jokes: Studies of Sick Humor Cycles & Stereotypes from 1987 Alan Dundes has pointed out different "sick humor cycles" which he has collected and examined as an ethnologist. Dundes assumed that those "sick humor cycles" (e. g. jokes about the holocaust or jokes about dead babies) are passed on orally in all societies. He reckoned that the only way to handle and speak about forbidden topics is by telling jokes about them. "Laughing to keep from crying" - that could be his formula of sick humor. Comic relief preserves the tragic element and makes it easier to handle it for the members of the concerned societies. The authors of this book try to suspend the marginal position of the research topic "sick humor" and to elevate it to a key issue to get new points of view on this old topic. This will be achieved by crossing themes and theories of sick humor with established comedy theories.